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Shelley Roberts Bendall December 16, 2022

Nobody likes to have their rights taken away. Liberals and conservatives can agree on that, but they can’t agree on which rights to protect and which ones to eliminate.

I’d been watching a woman on CNN make the argument she had a right to refuse to create a wedding website for a same same-sex couple. I wasn’t shocked at the case she was making as these are arguments we’ve heard before. What stunned me was the context through which weperceive personal freedoms in this country.

The woman said same-sex marriage goes against her religious beliefs and the government shouldn’t force her to create a unique piece of art (the website) that goes against the basis of her religion.

Here was a woman angry that her freedom to choose who she works with could be taken away when all over the country state legislatures, as well as the Supreme Court, are taking away the freedom of women to control their own bodies. While all rights are important, the discrepancy in immediate relevance to someone’s life is obvious.

Women and girls face life-threatening medical decisions involving reproductive healthcare every day. Their rights to control their own healthcare choices have been partially taken over by the government and the extremists within it. These same extremists would argue the government shouldn’t make a website designer work with gay people.

This is basically the argument the religious right continues to make: You can’t make me do something (make a website) because it offends my religion, but I can force you to do something (have a baby) because my religion says you have to.

Religion shouldn’t dictate laws.

Hypocrisy is nothing new in this country, but religious extremists are slowly eroding our individual rights. It appears they won’t stop until our entire government follows the same rules as their religions. And yes, the woman’s legal representation is provided by the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that, according to its website, is a, “…world leader in defending…God’s design for marriage and family.”

The woman argued the state of Colorado, with its law against discriminating against people based on sexual orientation, would be “compelling” her to create speech that “goes against the core of who she is.”

It is OK for the government to compel an 11-year old girl to have her uncle’s baby, but boy are we offended that someone might have to recognize a different kind of family than the one the have.

How differently we view individual rights in this country. It’s all about personal freedom until they don’t agree with the kind of freedom you want.

There is no scientific or objective reason to outlaw abortion. The arguments are purely religious in nature. The religious right seems to think it should be legal to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community because “freedom”, but it isnot OK to give women the right to choose whether to give birth to her rapist’s baby. Because religion.

What about my right to freedom from religion?

The woman is free to make her case and we’ll see what the courts decide. I do understand her position, even if I don’t agree with her point of view.

Constitutional arguments for rights to free speech and privacy aside, my point is this: we should care about compelling a woman to undergo the physical and mental trauma of an unwanted pregnancy and birth AT LEAST as much as we care about whether an artist can be forced to create a website.

No doubt cable news will continue to air debates about which rights are guaranteed in the Constitution. However, we should discuss them without the lens of religion getting in the way of individual liberty.

Shelley Roberts Bendall is a writer from Lexington.
https://www.yahoo.com/news/personal-free-religion-153026994.html

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